- American Library Association Notable Book
- National Book Critics Circle Notable Book
- Winner of a Wilbur Award
- Winner of a Lambda Literary Award
- Los Angeles Times Book Review Recommended Book of the Year
"Affecting" Los Angeles Times
"Luminous" New York Daily News
"Lyrical" Time Out New York
"Strikingly original" Forward
Click here to read an Amazon.com essay by the author about The Far Euphrates
Click here to read an excerpt from the Hebrew translation of The Far Euphrates
"Radiant. . . remarkable both for Stollman's eloquently understated prose and for the ease with which he constructs his artful plot. . . At the heart of The Far Euphrates
lie the vexed questions raised by the Holocaust and its legacy: how we must try to solve for ourselves the riddle of God's existence and cultivate a sense of mercy in an unforgiving age." Read more of this New York Times review
— The New York Times Book Review
Click here to read Bernhard Schlink's German-language review in the Berliner Tagesspiegel.
"[The Far Euphrates
] glides beguilingly between childhood and adulthood, between secrecy and candor, between the world we can see and the unknowable beyond. . . This is a coming-of-age tale told in simple, uncluttered language and scenes so artfully crafted that they seem artless. His characters speak to us with authority because they are at once wonderfully vivid and wonderfully mysterious. In its quirky, understated beauty, The Far Euphrates
resembles another fine first novel, Elizabeth McCracken's The Giant's House,
published last year. But the book is also a coming-home-to-religion story. Given the simple eloquence of its prose, its assured storytelling and its subtle grasp of Jewish family life and heritage, it's more kin to the fiction of the late, great Bernard Malamud." Read more of this New York Newsday review
— New York Newsday
"Stollman writes beautifully, in a rich, clear, metphorical language energized by an awareness of how thoroughly the quotidian is infused with, and animated by, the magical. . . Alexander, the dreamy hero of Aryeh Stollman's luminous first novel, The Far Euphrates,
must learn to shoulder the burden of a weighty, terrifying and precious legacy an inheritance combining elements of the spiritual and the corporeal, the mysterious and the mundane, of fantasy and of a history more horrifying than our darkest imaginings. . . Early in the book, Alexander's father tells him that "God's sweet letters were also the powerful tools whereby He created light and everything in the universe." And we finish The Far Euphrates
confirmed in our belief in the religious the mystical power of words." Read more of this New York Daily News review
— Francine Prose, The New York Daily News
"A fascinating new voice in contemporary fiction."
— Judith Rossner
"To read this wonderful book, with its prayerlike rhythms, with its beautiful pacing of a familiar tale, holds a reward for the reader. . . We have just met a great writer."
— Jamaica Kincaid
"Charting the flowering of the human soul is heady material for any writer, but in his beautiful first novel Stollman has done just that . . . The novel is filled with eccentric characters and detail, but it is Stollman's gorgeous prose liturgically somber yet musically resonant that moves us."
— Out Magazine
"[Stollman] belongs to what appears to be a new, younger generation of Jewish writers in North America finally emerging from beneath the shadows of those earlier giants Malamud, Bellow, Roth, Ozick, Richler. And they are doing so not by trying to produce monumental fictions, but by offering works in a minor key, their 'lesser' ambitions compensated for by a concentration on style and a subtlety of thought and feeling. The Far Euphrates
is, first of all, beautifully written. Told in the elegiac voice of a man remembering his childhood, its lines resonate with delicate pathos."
— The (Toronto) Globe and Mail
"Reminiscent of a Hasidic tale in its deceptively quiet, gentle tone, this masterful debut offers up its darkest secrets with heartbreaking delicacy. . . Though steeped in religious sensibility and learning, this warm, contemplative novel works on its readers' most visceral sympathies and fears." Read more of this Publishers Weekly review
— Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Stollman's writing is graceful and understated, its rhythms have been aptly described as prayerlike. His characters are memorable. . . [I]t's a novel seeped in Jewish learning."
— The Jewish Week
"A ruminative and wonderfully moving first novel about a sheltered boyhood. . . A series of losses, and the acceptance of and accommodations to loss elevate the lyrical final pages into both a thoroughly satisfying elegy for all the things that cannot remain and an affirmation of our right and need to believe in the essential permanence of things and of the spirit." Read more of this Kirkus Reviews review
— Kirkus Reviews (starred)
"[A] wonderful debut from a philosophical and poetical writer who takes the reader on a tour of life's age-old questions by a most delightful and unusual route."
— L.A. Weekly Literary Supplement
"Stollman conjures up an intense nostalgia for a moment before loss, movement, and human history began. Stollman creates this aching mood exquisitely. In his hands even the most mundane details of Alexander's world speak to this central metaphysical dilemma. . . Stollman has shown he knows his way around the far reaches of human imagination. . ."
— The Village Voice
"[A] highly accomplished work of fiction, one whose symbolic richness and sometimes astonishing narrative turns are the mark of an unusually resourceful writer. . . [Its] beautifully rendered prose, unadorned yet often evocatively poetic. . . seeks to make real the mysteries of revelation and, at the book's end, culminates in prayer. . . The Far Euphrates
announces the arrival of an exceptionally fine writer, whose first novel makes a strikingly original contribution to contemporary literature and, in its own appealingly understated way, lifts the level of recent American-Jewish writing to a new plane."
"[A] delicate first novel. . . the elegant confidence of both language and narrative structure suggest a mature voice. . . a major new voice in fiction may well be among us."
"The Far Euphrates is a beautiful, riddling examination of familial pain and fear and religious passion. . . Stollman takes on large subjects in a small, heightened setting. In lesser hands, his quiet opera would descend into melodrama. Stollman doesn't even skirt that possibility." Read more of this Amazon.com review
"The Far Euphrates is a beautiful book. Its radiance is not of the sun but of the moon: delicate, mournful, mysterious."
— Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
"The way the past grips the present, the way secrets hold families together and isolate them: these dilemmas are the haunted heart of Stollman's compelling first novel. What a delicate and compassionate craftsman he is!"
— J.D. McClatchy